Accused in bus death incident may avoid jail term

Eoghan Dudley (28) died almost instantly after going under bus on Dawson Street in 2012

A homeless man who killed an acquaintance by knocking him under a Dublin Bus in Dublin city centre a year and a half ago may avoid a jail term.   Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

A homeless man who killed an acquaintance by knocking him under a Dublin Bus in Dublin city centre a year and a half ago may avoid a jail term. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times

 

A homeless man who killed an acquaintance by knocking him under a Dublin Bus in Dublin city centre a year and a half ago may avoid a jail term.

Last month a Dublin Circuit Criminal Court jury found Edward Connors (30) guilty following an eight-day manslaughter trial.

This morning he also admitted injuring, threatening or intimating two people with a syringe in separate incidents.

Eoghan Dudley (28) had died almost instantly from “catastrophic and traumatic injuries” after going under the left rear wheel of the bus on Dawson Street during rush-hour traffic.

Both men were heroin users and both had the drug in their systems at the time of the death. The victim’s injuries were so severe that he could not initially be identified.

Gardaí had to issue a public appeal and use a DNA test to determine who he was.

Today the court heard evidence from the victim’s mother who said she would “give anything to see my son one last time”.

Judge Patrick McCartan remanded Connors in custody for sentence on October 7th next.

He said he does not propose to send Connors to prison if it can be avoided because of the lack of facilities there for deaf people.

He said he hoped the Dudley family could appreciate his dilemma. He said the incident was as close to an accident as can be by law.

Referring to Connors’s background, he said: “It’s hard to conceive someone who has come from tougher circumstances.”

He described the prison conditions as “unacceptable” and said he was duty-bound to inquire into alternatives to prison given the “unique circumstances” of the case.

He put the matter back for a Probation Service report, but said that if there were no alternatives then he would have to protect the community and impose a prison sentence.

Connors, of no fixed abode and formerly of Bearna Park, Sandyford, admitted interacting with the deceased but claimed that what looked like a punch on CCTV footage is actually him trying to grab Mr Dudley to stop him falling off the path and going under the bus.

He had pleaded not guilty to unlawfully killing Mr Dudley on December 6th, 2012.

Connors, who is deaf and who cannot speak, also pleaded guilty to two counts of using a syringe to cause injury or threaten to cause injury at Balally Shopping Centre, Sandyford on May 17th, 2012 and at Lotts Lane on August 18th, 2012.

He will be sentenced for these offences on July 4th next.

Mr Dudley’s mother, Noleen, described the fear she felt when she heard about the death and “the dreadful confirmation” that it was her son.

She said he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and “it could have been anyone walking down Dawson Street”.

During an emotional victim impact statement she described him as bright, kind and loving and said his death is “like a nightmare that we haven’t and can’t wake up from”.

“I would give anything for another five minutes with my son just to hug him and tell him how much we love him no matter what,” she said.

Her daughter had very nearly come across the scene of the killing as it was on her normal route but “mercifully” decided to go a slightly different way that day, she added.

During the trial, seven eyewitnesses gave evidence that they saw Connors punch Mr Dudley immediately before he fell off the crowded footpath.

The jury also viewed a large amount of CCTV footage, including of the moments when the victim went under the bus.

After his arrest, Connors denied his guilt and tried to blame a friend, who was with him at the time, for the killing.

He later admitted making some contact with Mr Dudley and blamed the former head shop drug “snow blow”. “It was all because of blow,” he told gardaí. “I was off my head. I don’t know.”